A Multi-state Partnership to Improve Land Health and Ecosystem Productivity
The Great Basin Environmental Program (GBEP) is a bold and innovative land-based environmental management initiative similar in concept to 25 other estuarial environmental programs that have been operating in the United States since the approval of the Clean Water Act.
It is the first such program aimed at a terrestrial area, the Great Basin, designated as one of the most imperiled ecosystems in the United States. The project provides new funding, establishes partnerships and integrates efforts with federal agencies, state agencies, tribes, NGOs and the private sector to address critical environmental issues.
The environment must be everyone’s business and be viewed in the broadest sense if the general public is to be more fully engaged. The GBEP supports existing initiatives addressing the environmental issues in the Great Basin, to help as sure that they are adequately funded and will encompass broader areas than covered by existing projects. This broadness reaches communities and cultures and issues that are presently not traditionally seen as part of the environmental challenge of the Great Basin.
The GBEP features involvement from the communities, federal and state agencies, academic institutions, NGOs, tribes and the private sector in a comprehensive effort to reverse the environmental damage that currently exists as a result of the increasing expansion of invasive plant species. It supports policies and regulations that can provide an improved livelihood for the growing and changing distribution of the population and visitors to the Great Basin by developing metrics that communicate effectively with the public and can educate about factors affecting the environmental condition.
Initially, the GBEP has focused on invasive species, which are an integral part of the problems of degradation of the Great Basin’s environment; specifically, we will address two major invasive species issues:
- Late-season grazing of livestock to reduce the fuel loads from cheatgrass and other invasive species increasingly dominating rangelands,
- Pinion pine and juniper, which are increasing in scope, including lower elevation rangelands, changing the environmental conditions in areas where they dominate the plant community, and
- Other invasive species that are a problem for maintaining the integrity of Great Basin ecosystems
This effort is not intended to compete with other environmental programs in the Great Basin, which include but are not limited to: the Joint Fire Sciences Program; the SageSTEP Project, the USDA IFAFS Restoration of Cheatgrass Infested Range Land; the Collaborative Management and Research in the Great Basin Effort; and the state Conservation Partnerships. Each of these addresses the negative effects and environmental damage from invasive species.
The objective of the GBEP is to bring new resources into the Great Basin for its and other efforts to address invasive species issues related to the health of the Great Basin ecosystem.